How Netflix Managed to Break Down the Wall and Take Over the Latino Market

casa de papel BELatina Netflix
Photo Credit Netflix

Understanding the Latino community as a profoundly heterogeneous group is no easy task, much less understanding its priorities when it comes to entertainment.

Often subject to stereotypes and clichés on the small and large screen, the avatar of the Latino consumer has often slipped through the fingers of producers and marketers for decades.

However, the transformation of digital and streaming presentation formats has changed the direction and capacity of the entertainment industry in unexpected ways.

Not surprisingly, the Netflix phenomenon is slowly undermining once watertight industries such as film, while simultaneously changing the way television is made.

With an estimated 151 million subscribers worldwide, the production and broadcasting company founded in 1997 under the DVD rental format is today one of the world’s largest content distributors, competing with other titans such as Amazon, Google, and Disney.

However, while its competitors struggle to maintain the loyalty of their subscribers, Netflix has opted for diversity and geolocalized content, achieving what others simply never had the interest to do: Embrace minority communities.

Faced with a decline in subscriptions in the middle of last year, Netflix decided to go for Spanish-language content and its dissemination to diverse audiences, according to an IHS Markit | Technology report.

Despite having seen a 9 percent drop in U.S. Latino subscribers due to cancellations, the company “increased its Spanish-language content by nearly 30,000 hours from December 2018-September 2019,” reversing this loss and gaining back 4 percent, while other platforms such as Amazon declined by 2,000 hours, explained Screendaily.com

The thing is, again, that the Latino consumer does not behave like other groups, and their trends are less predictable in the market.

While one in five U.S. households canceled a video service during a 12-month period, Latinos are twice as likely to do so. Also, the study adds, Latinos are more likely than the average consumer “to select a wider range of devices and watch on a specific device.”

The study found that there is a significant shift in the Latino audience from Amazon to Netflix and that this is directly related to investment in Spanish-language content services.

“Both video platforms boast vast content libraries, although Amazon takes the lead with nearly 3.4m hours of content overall according to IHS Markit Technology and its US data partner,” explained Television Business International. “In terms of Spanish language content, however, Netflix has nearly 15 times the amount of content in hours compared to Amazon Prime Video and is a clear leader in the US streaming market, followed by Hulu.”

By September 2019, almost 14% of Netflix’s catalogue was composed of Spanish-language content, representing a 12% increase in the space of one year and this is a trend that seems to be continuing, especially with the international success of series such as La Casa De Papel (“Money Heist”).

In short, while in Hollywood the struggle for inclusion and representation continues, there are other platforms that decide to see through the eyes of Latinos and change the way things are done.